To love first and ask questions later.
To develop a lot more patience and keep working on it, cos boy do I need to.
To always respect her agency and not be an authoritarian asshole.
To realize that this is a nurturing partnership and that I have to be the responsible, caring adult in it (not the other way round).
To keep learning while being rooted in the present.
To accept, even be grateful for, the fact that life isn’t ever going to be perfect.
To seek out health and well-being as a family, rather than wealth and acclaim.
To ditch the masculine, patriarchal bullshit as much as possible, and to never rest easy with that particular endeavor.
To be cool with doing boring-ass shit that’s interesting to a toddler, over and over (and over) again.
Above all…to be beyond grateful for her and her mother.
Of course, occasionally I get these messages from some of the strangest actions and expressions on any given day that I can only paraphrase thus:
“You will respect my inalienable right to kick and scream during the poopiest of diaper changing sessions.”
“I own you and you will bend to my cute, darling will.”
“It’s your job to make sure I get the nutrition I need and it’s my job to eat, smear, spit, and/or fling as I so desire.”
“What’s your problem anyway? I eat well and my other, infinitely superior, parent keeps me well nourished with breast milk, so stop your whining.”
“If I want to play with the most uninteresting object in the household, then so be it.”
(“Honestly dude, even then it’s only because I possess the kind of brilliant imagination and wonder that said bye bye to your piss and vinegary ass a while back.”)
“Food is meant to be eaten, yes, but you, with your limited and backward adult brain, simply cannot comprehend all the other uses for it. I on the other hand can…and I don’t understand why it bothers you so much when I explore these other uses.”
(“I’m sure there’s a billionaire art collector in Europe who’d pay top dollar for my Swirling Yogurt Smear On Cheap Ass Dining Table – Daya S.V. 2017)”
“You need to really get it through your thick skull that I am of infinite wisdom and eternal truth. You are not the authority of anything. You are in fact full of shit and I see right through you.”
“I am awesome. You are extremely lucky, like once in a gazillion lifetimes lucky, to have me and my mother in your life.”
“Yes, I do want to swing on each and every swing in the park, and no, I’m not ready to go home. For a glorified butler, you sure do ask a lot of annoying questions.”
“Pick me up. Now. Put on music. Now. Dance. Now. Do not stop until I say so or fall asleep. NOW.”
“Remember, mama #1, appa #2, always…and don’t be thinking you can rest easy with that silver medal, slip up and your ass is off the podium.”
“Yes, that feeling of gratitude you have for me and my mother is what you should be feeling…more where that came from.”